Monday, July 11, 2011

Heart to Heart: Priceless Treasure

Despair can paralyze and weaken even the strongest of souls. Everyday pressures can be overwhelming; criticism and cruelty from the world can make us feel as though we've been defeated. When life is filled with despair, we must not give up. For even in our darkest moments we can have hope. Psalm 112:4 tells us that; Even in darkness light dawns for the upright. Hope conquers despair. So where does hope come from? How can we overcome despair?

In 2 Corinthians 4:7 we read about a treasure, but the treasure is kept in a jar made of clay. Seems like an odd place for a treasure, right? A clay jar is fragile, and easily broken. Usually we would keep our valuables - our most prized possession - in a vault, in a safety deposit box, or in a strong, protected place. When we look closer, this jar of clay reveals flaws, defects, and cracks. It's not a vessel of great monetary value, but rather a common, ordinary vessel.

We are that vessel, that fragile jar of clay! Our bodies, our outward appearance, our physical imperfections, our human errors, these are all elements of our jar of clay. None of these things can bring meaning or a sense of value to our lives. If we focus on our human qualities, despair is bound to set in.

But the solution to overcoming despair is revealed in the following verses. Kept inside that broken, fragile, ordinary jar of clay is a priceless treasure of immeasurable worth!

2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 16-18 
    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 
     Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Let God's truth reveal the treasure that dwells within you. This treasure can fill the emptiest of vessels; after all, a jar is designed to hold something! That treasure is God himself, living within us, bringing His abundant life. In our own humanity, we are simply an empty jar. But when we recieve God's gift of salvation, we become filled with what we were created to hold, the spirit of Christ. He is our treasure!

When we look only at the fragile clay jar, despair is the natural response, but when we look at the glorious treasure we hold within, we are inwardly restored and revitalized by God's grace. And those imperfections and cracks in our clay jar are no longer to be despised, for they now serve a purpose! They allow the grace of God, our cherished treasure, to pour out for all those around us to see.

photo credit: google images

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